The night I rode out Hurricane Isabel I felt the earth shake. Historic, majestic, seemingly indestructible trees bowed before their Creator, and the wind declared a power far greater than its own.
Anyone who has been through a fierce storm understands why one of the many adjectives that describe God is “fearsome.”
I’m not suggesting we should be terrorized at the thought of God. Yet God is the holy Creator of the universe, and trembling before God is not uncalled for. A good dose of trepidation before the Almighty is good for us. Proverbs 1:7 tells us that fear of God is the very beginning of wisdom!
This week we look afresh at mysterious, life-altering encounters with the Creator. We remember that communion with God is infinitely different than coffee and casual conversation at Starbucks with a pal. After all, after encountering Yahweh, Moses begins glowing! To meet with God is no commonplace encounter.
When my family lived in Ogbomoso, Nigeria, we would visit the Soun, the local king, in his palace from time to time. When we went, our sons and I would bow and our little preschool daughter would curtsy.
When we greeted the Soun we would say, “Kabiyesi.” And we really drew out the “Kaaaaaa,” for that was a way of signaling respect. The Soun was kind and gracious, but we never forgot he was the king.
God is our loving Father, but worship takes on new depth and richness when we remember that we worship in the presence of the King of the Universe.
God, forgive us for any inappropriate familiarity we have assumed in our relationship with you. Remind us of the need to maintain a healthy respect for you even as we enjoy the tenderness of your grace. Amen.
God’s glory is always revealed, even if never completely. When Moses encounters God on the mountain, his face undergoes a physical transformation as a reflection of God’s greater glory. The psalmist reminds us of how great God is and how even Moses and Aaron bow before God’s throne. Paul refers to the story of Moses, but because of Christ, God’s glory is now more openly revealed. There is no need to wear a covering as Moses did, for Christ reflects openly the divine radiance. Luke recounts the Transfiguration, when the face of Jesus, like that of Moses, begins to shine. God’s voice reinforces the revelation of the Transfiguration, declaring Jesus to be God’s Son and the revelation of God’s glory.
Read Exodus 34:29-35. Consider the ways you provide evidence of your faith. Do you display it for your glory or for God’s?
Read Psalm 99. How do you seek a healthy balance of awe and intimacy in your relationship with God?
Read 2 Corinthians 3:12–4:2. What “veil” separates you from God—a sense of unworthiness, a hardened heart, a lack of understanding?
Read Luke 9:28-43a. Jesus shines with God’s glory, but then he gets back to his work of healing. Consider how God might transform you to do better the work you are already doing for God.
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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